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Any biological organism is going to fluctuate — a variable that farmers and growers are always really concerned about, Apicella said.
The most obvious hurdles to making pure and legal CBD arise from being unable to tell marijuana and hemp plants apart.
Why you shouldn’t assume CBD is a cure-all
As hemp, its fiber made the sails that carried European colonists across much of the known world. It was so fundamental to America’s foundations that its image was printed on money. George Washington was notoriously bad at growing hemp, though.
To grow an all-female group, “you snip a part of a plant off, and you put it in soil with a little rooting hormone and that cutting is actually genetically identical to that first mother plant that you took from,” Apicella explained, raising his arms and pointing to a long row of hemp plants. “So these are all genetically identical to one of the mother plants we have in here.”
Just try it for yourself:
How a hemp crop can sometimes become marijuana
Cheer said there is also strong support that CBD reduces anxiety and stymies addiction to opioids and marijuana. It may also offer sleep benefits to patients with multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease.
Scientists suspect cannabinoids protect the plant from UV rays, much like sunscreen does for human skin. They think that because up to a quarter of a cannabis plant’s weight can come from just cannabinoids — and cannabinoid levels change with light exposure. “At the top of the plant, you’ll get more cannabinoids, compared to flowers that are at the lower end of the plant,” graduate student Peter Apicella said.
Our recent study found that Americans perceive hemp and CBD to be more like over-the-counter medication and THC to be more like a prescription drug. Still, the average person in the U.S. does not view hemp, CBD, THC or even marijuana in the same light as illicit substances like meth and cocaine – even though both are classified by the DEA as having a lower potential for abuse than marijuana.
CBD comes in food, tinctures and oils, just to name a few. Here are some commonly used terms used to describe CBD products in the store.
One would assume, then, that hemp-derived CBD should be federally legal in every state because the THC levels don’t surpass 0.3%. But CBD occupies a legal gray area. Several states, such as Nebraska and Idaho, still essentially regulate CBD oil as a Schedule 1 substance akin to marijuana.
There is no standardized dosage of CBD. Some retailers may have enough knowledge to make a recommendation for first-timers. There are also online resources – like this dosage calculator.
Clinical research indicates that CBD is effective at treating epilepsy. Anecdotal evidence suggests it can help with pain and even anxiety – though scientifically the jury is still out on that.
The defining difference between hemp and marijuana is their psychoactive component: tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. Hemp has 0.3% or less THC, meaning hemp-derived products don’t contain enough THC to create the “high” traditionally associated with marijuana.
In states where recreational marijuana is legal, the list of cannabis-derived products greatly expands to include CBD with much higher THC content than 0.3%.
Another big difference among hemp, marijuana and CBD is how the law treats them.
Michigan State University provides funding as a founding partner of The Conversation US.